I simply can’t stop making this kale salad after getting my hands on Gjelina Restaurant’s recipe. Gjelina in Venice is an absolute favorite spot of mine. With it’s highly seasonal menu, farm to table credo, and effortless delivery of meals, it is certainly among the finest in dining that LA has to offer. At a fraction of the cost, this fresh and highly nutritious salad is a quick and easy dinner party favorite!
This dish is devoured right before my eyes each time I prepare it for a group of friends! I pick up my kale for this recipe from the Santa Monica Farmer’s Market or Whole Foods. Curly kale is fairly easy to find but I prefer the fresh, crisp quality of the variety from the farmer’s market.
Fennel is one of those unusual vegetables that I needed to Google the first time I stumbled upon it in a recipe. The white bulb is the edible portion of the plant. Don’t be put off by the anise (black licorice) smell- this crisp veggie makes for a refreshing and crunchy addition to the kale salad!
I’ve had a number of friends tell me that they have attempted this recipe with varied success. So here’s my big reveal behind the secret to my prep – I massage the kale with olive oil. That’s right, a rubdown is what transforms this green from being tough and bitter to slightly sweet and flavorful.
Prep Time: 20 minutes
1 Bunch of Kale, stems removed and discarded, leaves finely sliced
1 Bulb of Fennel, finely sliced
1 Cup of Ricotta Salada, crumbled
5 Radishes, finely sliced
5 Slices French Baguette, toasted and drizzled with olive oil (crushed croutons as an easier alternative)
1 Lemon, juiced
1/4 Cup Olive Oil
1/4 Cup White Balsamic Vinegar
Salt and Black Pepper to taste
Dash of Red Chili Pepper Flakes for an extra kick of flavor (optional)
When it comes to balsamic vinegar, lemon juice, and black pepper, I am quite liberal in my use in nearly all my recipes. Any salad dish lacking in taste, will be flavored up in no time with the extra addition of these key ingredients!
Toast the pieces of sliced baguette, drizzled with olive oil in the oven for 5-7 minutes or until golden brown.
In a large mixing bowl, combine the sliced kale with a splash of olive oil, lemon juice, and salt. Massage the kale for about 3-5 minutes. This key part of the recipe is what transforms the nutrient-loaded kale from a bitter, tough leafy green to a tender, slightly crisp, delicious base for a raw salad.
Add the crumbled ricotta salada, sliced radishes, fennel, and crushed bread to the bowl.
Toss with remaining lemon juice, white balsamic vinegar, and olive oil. Finish with salt, black pepper, and red chili pepper flakes to taste.